Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Mississippi State Bulldogs: 2015 Belk Bowl Champions



There was no better way for Dak Prescott to go out.

The star Mississippi State quarterback, who led his team to the Orange Bowl last season, got his second bowl win with a 51-28 win over NC State in the Belk Bowl.

MSU jumped out to a 21-0 lead, and although it got a scare from NC State in the second quarter, the Bulldogs just kept scoring, eventually blowing out the Wolfpack.

Prescott finished the game 25-for-42 passing, with 380 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed 12 times for 47 yards. That comes after a regular season in which he completed 66.9 percent of his passes for 3,413 yards, and passed for 7.8 yards per attempt and 25 touchdowns to just four interceptions all season. He also rushed for 541 yards and 10 touchdowns.

That caps off a career that few would have qualms saying is the best in Mississippi State history, both from a statistical standpoint and from a program-building standpoint.

Mississippi State is a tough place to win, sitting in the stacked SEC West. It's not a traditional powerhouse, and it has to recruit against Alabama, Auburn, LSU, and Ole Miss. But history be damned, Prescott single-handedly made this team a factor in the SEC West over the past two season. Last year, he had the Bulldogs ranked as the No. 1 team in the country and got them to the Orange Bowl. This year, they won nine games again.

Coach Dan Mullen had already begun turning around the Mississippi State program, but Prescott elevated it. The Orange Bowl berth was the first since 1940. The last time the Bulldogs finished as high as they did in AP Poll, 11th, was also 1940. And this is the first time Mississippi State has ever won at least nine games two seasons in a row.

That's mostly due to Prescott, who was overlooked for his greatness because of all the big names around him in the SEC. He was an incredibly efficient and accurate passer, and he was a true dual-threat quarterback, as he could run just as well as he threw the ball.

At 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, Prescott could be a very good pro prospect. He's accurate, has a big arm and can play within the offense while also making things happen with his feet when the initial play breaks down. NFL Draft Scout ranks him as the third best quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft.

While Prescott should have a nice career in the NFL, this game was a celebration of his college career. And the best player in the history of Mississippi State football proved why he has that title.
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